Orwell celebrates sestercentennial - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Orwell celebrates sestercentennial

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Drums were beating and flags were flying in Orwell on Sunday morning. Hundreds gathered for a two-day celebration that marks the towns 250th birthday.

"A lot of people have come back to celebrate the day. Everyone has just been happy -- it's just been wonderful," said Sharon Pinsonneault of Orwell.

Organizer Ted Simmons says they have been planning the weekend of events for nearly two years, and that with so much to celebrate, they decided to split the festivities in half. "We split it up into two days, and yesterday, the 17th, was a family events type of deal where there was pony rides, a bounce house, face painting."

The town was chartered on August 18th, 1763, which makes Sunday exactly 250 years -- a day that Simmons says should be dedicated to Orwell's rich history. Speeches were given by longtime residents and even Vermont's former Governor, Jim Douglas.

And for those residents looking to create their own piece of history, a time capsule will mark the occasion. Locals were asked to bring keepsakes and the capsule will be buried on the town green. Organizers say it will remain there for at least 50 years. For Simmons, his favorite part about the weekend was simply getting people together.  "I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing neighbors and people get together and having a meal and enjoying each others company," he said.

Orwell is among dozens of towns celebrating 250 years, but the fundraiser for this event was unique. "It's an outhouse -- and people could say I want it on my neighbors lawn, and then they donated $10 and then it miraculously showed up on their neighbors lawn," said Matt Barnes, an event organizer.

For months residents could pay $25 to keep the brightly painted porta-potty off their lawn or pay 10 bucks to prank a neighbor. Barnes says the traveling outhouse raised $500 -- all in good fun.

"I wish we had something like this a little more often. This is like the third whole town celebration that I remember in about forty years -- and they all have been wonderful. I wish it could be a tradition," Sharon Pinsonneault said.

The festivities Sunday also included a medal presentation to Orwell Vietnam veterans.

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